Running The Numbers On Relationships

by Dish Staff

Daniel A. Medina presents new findings on how race relates to success at online dating:

The breakthrough came when the researchers found that three multiracial groups were favored more than anyone else, something they referred to as the “bonus effect.” These three groups were Asian-white women, who were viewed more favorably than all other groups by white and Asian men, and Asian-white and Hispanic-white men, who were given “bonus” status by Asian and Hispanic women. … This “bonus effect,” which the researchers said was “truly unheard of in the existing sociological literature,” goes against the long established “one drop rule” amongst American sociologists. Usually applied to people with partial African descent, the rule essentially states that multiracial people even who are even a small part non-white are viewed simply as part of the lower-status (non-white) group.

Of course, even those who’ve parlayed their most desirable qualities (including, apparently, multiracial-ness) into coupledom aren’t guaranteed relationship success. Luckily, Emily Esfahani Smith and Galena Rhoades discuss research (pdf) on how healthy relationships progress:

The freedom to choose any relationship sequence has benefits, but it may also come at a cost long-term. Couples today seem less likely to move through major relationship milestones in a deliberate, thoughtful way. Rather, the new data show that they tend to slide through those milestones. Think of the college couple whose relationship began as a random hookup, the couple who moved in together so that they could pay less rent, or the couple who chose to elope on a whim rather than have a formal wedding. These are couples who, often without realizing it, slid through relationship transitions that could have been planned out, discussed, and debated.

The data show that couples who slid through their relationship transitions ultimately had poorer marital quality than those who made intentional decisions about major milestones. How couples make choices matters.

And how those relationships start also matters. Tom Jacobs flags a study that casts doubt on the longevity of relationships that begin when one partner swoops in and “poaches” the other from an existing relationship:

In three studies, “individuals who were poached by their current romantic partners were less committed, less satisfied, and less invested in their relationships,” reports a research team led by psychologistJoshua Foster of the University of South Alabama.

“They also paid more attention to romantic alternatives, perceived their alternatives to be of higher quality, and engaged in higher rates of infidelity.”

Being poached by your current partner, the researchers conclude, is both fairly common (10 to 30 percent of study participants reported their relationship began that way), and “a reliable predictor of poor relationship functioning.”